GM Chair Report March 2017

GM UNIT Chair Report, March 2017

March 22nd 2017


Meeting in Toronto

The National and Local Unions from St Catharines, Oshawa and Cami will be meeting with General Motors in Toronto on March 31, 2017. Topics of discussion for St Catharines will include but are not limited to:

  1. The projected volume in the GF6 after the shutdown period;
  2. Opportunities to facilitate bringing new mods of Gen V block and head machining to run a 3rd shift in assembly now that there is floor space available due to the Agile block machining being discontinued;
  3. Projected volumes in the near and long-term for HFV6;
  4. Timeline for apprentices. As the timeline to train apprentices will not cover anticipated attrition, does the company have a replacement plan?
  5. Possible new products available for St Catharines.

Around the Plant

The V8 engine volumes in St. Catharines are reasonably firm with the demand for trucks and big SUVs remaining strong despite slowing car sales in the U.S. The demand for the HFV6 engine has stabilized and looks like it will increase later in the year after Lansing Delta completes their 6 week retrofit and is up and running again. On April 1, 2017 Ramos in Mexico will cease to produce the HFV6 and St Catharines will be the sole producer of the GEN 1 HFV6. The company has indicated there will be further layoffs in HFV6 due to the Lansing Delta shutdown. The dates and times will be communicated to you as they become available to the union. The GF6 Transmission volumes are strong until shutdown. After shutdown, there will be a decrease of volume going to Cami when they cease production of the Terrain and the cancelation of the Equinox dual build. The end of the shuttle program of vehicles between Cami and Oshawa could also have an effect on our volumes. The Union will continue to work with the Company to find additional volume for our products.


Vacation and Shutdown:

St Catharines Management has notified the Union that the weeks of July 16th and 23rd 2017 will be designated shutdown this year. The expectation is that all three (3) manufacturing departments will be down these two (2) weeks. There will be some tradespeople and a limited number of production members in during shutdown in the HFV6 and GEN 5 to help facilitate work going on in those areas.

Reminder: If at the last minute the Company schedules work and you do not have a vacation request in during this time period, you will be required to work! If you want the time off book it.

Vacation pay will be paid out week ending June 25, 2017. The 6 week allocation period for senior members will be July 16, 2017 up to and including the week of August 20, 2017. New members will receive their vacation pay (4%) at the same time.

New Hire coding during shutdown will be coded “X” as they will have no available vacation hours. This will allow you to apply for EI.


Due to St Catharines Labour and Management staff not continuing past practice, sixteen of our most vulnerable junior members (least costly of their employees) have been laid off. This went against the Union’s proposal to continue with the current layoff agreement and protect our members. We once again ask the membership to keep this in mind when asked to work 12’s (extension of shift) in their department during forced layoffs. The union recognizes this is a personal choice but ask that you consider that the Company is using 12 hour shifts to mask manpower shortages to keep sixteen of your union brothers and sisters out on the street! Don’t help them eliminate your job!


We have had a number of queries regarding pension funding and the level. The language in the contract states:

  • Fulfill GM Hourly Pension funding obligation (as of 9/1/15 valuation) of approximately $2.3B as required by law (please note 9/1/15 was the most recent valuation at the time of bargaining).
  • Continue to provide the option for Commuted Value lump sum payment to new retirees.
  • Maintain the Basic Benefit Rate and Special Allowance at their current levels.

 Website for Members

We are setting up a new communication page on our Local 199 website so that the Union can better communicate with the membership. This page will allow members to get instant access to information. It has become very apparent some people don’t want to use Facebook to ask questions and be attacked or derided so this should resolve that issue as well as getting information out in a timely manner without waiting for a Chairperson report that is dated by the time it is written and distributed to the membership. There will be a NEW form on the website so that members can ask questions by email and we will respond as quickly as we can by phone or email.  If it’s a question that pertains to others, we will post the information on the website without the name of the person who asked the question.

Election Questions

“Article 10 {Point 4}” of the Unifor Local 199 By-Laws states “In the event of a vacancy in a Steward or Committeeperson position, a new Steward or Committeeperson must be elected or appointed by the Unit Chairperson for the balance of the term as soon as possible. Unless there is an alternate available. Rory DeMarco has accepted the position of E.I. and SUB REP., therefore, an alternate will be appointed shortly. I am confident he will do an excellent job representing the membership.

The date for the Executive Board position is to be announced and is called by the President.


Planning For Your Future

 We have scheduled two (2) Planning For your Future Courses, April 22nd for senior workers and a NEW course PFYF 2.0 May 27th, specifically for New Hires. Presentations will cover government pensions and benefits, (CPP, OAS, EI, and other benefits for young workers such as Maternity, Paternity) GM pensions and benefits. Great West Life has agreed to attend the New Hire course on May 27th to cover the Defined Contribution pension Plan. Space is limited for both of these courses so please use the online registration forms on the website. – go to News Around the local, Education. The direct links are

PFYF 2.0 Young Workers                         PFYF Senior Workers

Health & Wellness

One of our members, Ryan MacAulay has set up “Invested in Your Health & Wellness” with GoodLife Fitness for Local 199 members and family. Simply register online for your GoodLife Fitness Corporate Membership today at


  • Significant savings off regular GoodLife Fitness membership rates;
  • Access to over 280 GoodLife Fitness Clubs across Canada including 50 Energy Cardio Clubs in Quebec;
  • Corporate rate extended to 4 additional family members;
  • State-of-the-art cardio equipment;
  • World-renowned Group Fitness classes.

Issued by,

Tim McKinnon, GM Unit Chairperson
On behalf of the Bargaining Committee
Brian Chemnitz, Paul Dortono, Doug Wark, Larry Burkley, John Rakich
UNIFOR Local 199